Thursday, March 19, 2015

the long way home

the long way home
armand gamache #10
louise penny
minotaur books
published 2014

Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he’d only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. "There is a balm in Gilead," his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, "to make the wounded whole."

While Gamache doesn’t talk about his wounds and his balm, Clara tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home. Failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation. She wants Gamache’s help to find him. Having finally found sanctuary, Gamache feels a near revulsion at the thought of leaving Three Pines. "There’s power enough in Heaven," he finishes the quote as he contemplates the quiet village, "to cure a sin-sick soul." And then he gets up. And joins her.

Together with his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Myrna Landers, they journey deeper and deeper into Québec. And deeper and deeper into the soul of Peter Morrow. A man so desperate to recapture his fame as an artist, he would sell that soul. And may have. The journey takes them further and further from Three Pines, to the very mouth of the great St. Lawrence river. To an area so desolate, so damned, the first mariners called it The land God gave to Cain. And there they discover the terrible damage done by a sin-sick soul.

I've loved Louise Penny's Armand Gamache books.  I picked up one because the photograph on the cover was gorgeous.  Found out it was a series so I found the first one and off I went.  I am now caught up with the series and oh so sad.  For one, to be done with the series (so far, hopefully another one will be forthcoming) and two this was, well, it was shocking.

Peter is missing and you know that something terrible must have happened to him to keep him away from Clara.  So the entire time I'm dreading what they will find.  Now, Peter was always my least favorite villager from Three Pines.  I think he was meant to be the opposite of Clara and their balance kept each other in check, but still I always felt there was no balance there.  I felt like Peter didn't deserve Clara and I was so proud of her when she asked him to leave.

All the books in this series have been slow burners, but this was the most extreme of all of them.  It took so long to get anywhere and most of it seemed to be everyone staring at art, the same art, over and over for pages and pages.

But it was so twisted up I remained unsure the whole time.  I couldn't imagine that Peter was dead, but I couldn't understand why he wouldn't return to Clara so I was in limbo the whole time and everything about the ending was unexpected to me.

Holy cow.

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